How Podcasting is Used
by S. Housley
Although podcasting is new, it is well on its way to becoming
a mainstream communication medium. Podcasting, simply put, is
audio files that are delivered via RSS. Many people believe
that podcasting is solely for the distribution of music files,
but really, nothing could be further from the truth. This emerging
method of audio file distribution has opened an array of marketing
and communication opportunities to businesses. Currently, most
who are familiar with podcasting are technically savvy, but
it is clear that podcasting will be more than a passing fad
as many businesses are adopting podcasting and employing it
in unusual yet powerful ways. Podcasting can be used for talk
shows, tutorials, music demos, educational training, stories,
comedy clips, debates or even foreign language tutorials.
While RSS has had the capacity to include audio files for a
few years, only recently have entrepreneurs made the conceptual
leap, taking advantage of the new power held within this communication
medium. In reality, podcasters cover the gamut; some are professional
broadcasters, while others are obvious amateurs.
Podcasts are usually published with associated meta information
that includes descriptive data about each specific audio file.
This allows listeners to make a determination of which audio
items are of interest. If listeners are using a news aggregator
that supports podcasting, they will automatically receive updates
in their feed reader or news aggregation software when a new
podcast exists for a feed that they have subscribed to.
Why is podcasting so beneficial to the subscriber?
Unlike traditional radio, with podcasting the subscriber decides
what content he/she receives. Podcasting is extremely useful
to the subscriber because the user can easily receive information
he/she would like, and listen to it when they want. The material,
once downloaded, can be listened to and viewed on wireless handhelds,
allowing subscribers to utilize time on the road.
Topic-specific radio talk shows with commentaries, interviews
and debates can now be heard at a time and place of the listener's
choosing. Consider the benefit of educational tutorials and
foreign language instruction; lessons could be listened to during
a work commute. Supplementary class lectures, step by step tutorials
or walking guides are all possible using podcasting. An unlimited
collection of books read aloud for elderly or visually-impaired
listeners only scratch the surface of what is possible in the
future of podcasting.
The fate of podcasting is in the hands of the subscribers. The
subscriber can easily delete podcast feeds that do not satisfy
their needs with the single tap of a button. Ultimately, the
subscriber maintains control and determines what podcasts are
deemed successful. This intrinsically builds in a quality control
level and will ensure that the more innovative instructional
and interesting podcast feeds survive.
The technology is fresh and, like the Internet, is opening doors
to entrepreneurs. As podcasting evolves, users will find more
creative kinds of audio content to deliver. The low barrier
to entry has forced this new medium to the forefront, as businesses
and individuals have really little to lose in adding podcasting
as a communication channel.
About the Author
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing and publishing RSS feeds and
NotePage, Inc. http://www.notepage.net a wireless messaging